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My DS has a learning disorder

(14 Posts)
MissusCT Tue 02-Aug-11 17:51:48

Hello all,

I'm posting to see if there's others in the same position really. My DS is my first child and I noticed quite a while ago that his speech wasn't coming on as quickly as I thought it would. He seemed to be hitting the milestones on a basic level, so I put it down to him being slower than others and assumed that he'd quickly catch up once he started going to nursery and having more interaction with other children (had only been taking him to a playgroup once a week before that).

He went to nursery and after a couple of months called in me and DF to say that his speech was not as advanced as it should be and they asked if they could refer him to speech therapy. No problem, any help would be appreciated. I didn't think he was that far behind but I thought that it could only benefit him so agreed.

We got the appointment through for the assessment and the speech therapist said that his problems were quite severe. I felt like a failure - for not being a good enough teacher to him, and for not noticing enough before and therefore not seeking help quickly enough.

Since that initial assessment his behaviour has got a lot worse than it was before. It's easy to see that it's due to his lack of communication - he isn't able to tell us what he wants, and gets frustrated. We in turn get frustrated because we can't stop his "strops" unless we magically guess what he wants, or we manage to distract him enough to calm him down. When he's bad it's horrible. He screams, rolls on the floor, cries, shouts, slams doors, anything he can think of that's loud or what he knows is naughty. Both myself and DF try very hard not to shout at him, but it's difficult when he's been like that for an hour or more. It also doesn't help that I've just had a baby (beautiful DD!) so our attention is now divided, which he hates. He does adore his baby sister but he doesn't like that we pay attention to her IYSWIM.

We had another assessment today and he has improved, but he's still way behind what he should be and I'm starting to wonder if there will be any light at the end of the tunnel. All we seem to have had is assessments, no actual help. The speech therapist today gave us a sheet to work on and they have also now said it may be possible for him to have a one to one person work with him when he goes back to nursery in September. I just feel helpless though, like I'm not teaching him what he needs to know. I thought learning to talk would happen naturally, day to day, as we go about our routine. I also never thought he'd be so difficult to handle, and then be such a good and wonderful child when he wasn't in a strop...

Sorry for the essay. Would love to hear advice if anyone has any to offer.

grumpypants Tue 02-Aug-11 17:55:49

Hi this might be a starting point. FWIW all three of mine have been referred/had speech therapy, and I felt a bit confused by it all - you can't help feeling a it like speech (usually) just comes so naturally that it is somehow your fault. Obviously, it isn't!

janetsplanet Tue 02-Aug-11 18:08:47

yep, my 2 girls have also had speech therapy and youngest attends a school with a language resource base attached so she gets therapy 3 times a week now (more if able)
it isnt your fault at all

bdaonion Tue 02-Aug-11 18:20:22

You're not alone! There are a number of us on this board who have walked in your shoes.

You don't say how old your son is - I assuming around 3 - and that was the hardest time for us in relation to DD's behaviour. Thhe frustration and tantrums seemed never-ending! Please be reassured that it does get back quite quickly as soon as some functional language starts developing.

Does your son have issues with receptive language (understanding) or expressive?

signandsmile Tue 02-Aug-11 19:04:19

just a thought... might be worth asking speech therapist about benefits of signing for communication.... not just for kids with hearing impairments,

EllenJaneisnotmyname Tue 02-Aug-11 19:59:20

The Hanen book, 'It takes Two to Talk' is really good, and may be something to be getting on with. This is the cheapest source that I've found.

Is the SALT saying it's just a SL disorder? Do you get shared attention and good eye contact?

zzzzz Tue 02-Aug-11 20:27:47

Yes us too!

Welcome my dear to the club no-one wants to join, but frankly is pretty wonderful once you're in. What level of language does your son have? Can he understand what you say to him [receptive]? Can he talk in any meaningful way [expressive]? How old is he? Do you have the option to get some private SALT [ours is about £50ph]? How is his non verbal communication [can he point/share a joke/show you something/eye contact]?

I have a baby an couple of years younger than my ds1 and she has been his biggest boost and best friend. Yes they drive each other potty sometimes, but they are very noticeably a pair. grin You have given him a huge gift in a sibling.

I would recommend Thomas Sowells "Late Talking Children".....the description of assessment alone is brilliant and the stories of different delayed children invaluable in a lonely world. Start educating yourself about Language/speech problems, you will get much more out of all the professionals if you can ask the important questions.

MissusCT Tue 02-Aug-11 20:40:38

Thanks for the replies.

My son will be 4 in September. Apparently this is "good" because we have a year before he starts school to help him.

He has issues with both receptive and expressive language, but I think his understanding is better.

We are trying sign language, it's a slow process as both DF and I are learning it from scratch too.

I will definitely look into that book Ellen, thank you.

zzzzz Tue 02-Aug-11 21:45:12

One thing that our SALT helped us with amazingly at that stage [ds is now 6] was teaching ds some basic sentences to use to help him socially.

So for instance have you noticed how often adults ask the following questions to small children.

What's your name?
How old are you?
What school do you go to?
What class are you in?
Do you like school?

Both adults and children tend to also ask

What's your favourite colour?
Who's your best friend?
What your favourite food?

You can really help by practicing these questions and their answers with your ds. Even if he doesn't understand clearly but is able to parrot it will help him.

We also taught ds to say "Hello, my names xxxx, do you want to play?" To help him join in in the playground.....the teachers liked the idea so much there is now a whole 2 or three years at our school of kids who happily use this as their opening gambit.

At 3 my ds had very limited language, I can not believe how far we have come. We still have no diagnosis, but we are making progress.

pigletmania Tue 02-Aug-11 22:02:16

Me too! My dd 4.5 years has just got a dx from the paed for developmental delay (inc speech, commumication, cognitive skills, emotional) The delay is quite a big one. My dd sounds a lot similar to your ds, whilst other children of dd age talk and tell their parents what they want or their feelings, my dd shouts and screams and cries like a baby would. It makes me feel so sad for her, for us. Its even worse during the holidays as its hard to keep her occupied all day without the routine of preschool. DD will be going to MS school in September, and are Statementing her.

chocjunkie Tue 02-Aug-11 22:14:54

we too! have DD1 (3.6) with severely delayed speech and language but no dx yet. both her expressive and receptive are about 1.5-2 years behind.

can second the "it takes two to talk". if you have the option, I would also look into getting a private SALT involved. you can fine one HERE .

zzzzz, I just taught DD over the last weeks to respond to "what's your name?" and "how old are you?" and it really helps. we are working on more atm smile

pigletmania Tue 02-Aug-11 22:18:42

My dd is 2 years behind, and have been practising basic questions too. She responds to us or people she knows, but unfamiliar people, no.

chocjunkie Tue 02-Aug-11 22:26:48

DD just mastered the name and age question a couple of days ago so haven't had a chance to try it outside home really... for the time being, I am overjoyed to get an answer to this questions myself smile

bdaonion Tue 02-Aug-11 22:37:51

The basic sentences worked well for us too. Helps take the pressure off.

A lot can change in a year before your son starts school, but if it looks like he is going to need additional support with his language then see if there is a school with a language unit in your area. They seem to be becoming as rare as hen's teeth but if you can get a place go for it!

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